Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Author/Composer Study meets Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day, so I thought I'd tell you about something I LOVE!

It was during my second year of teaching that I discovered what was going to become my very favorite set of books to use in my music classroom.  I love these books so much that I've given these books to other music teachers as gifts AND I've bought replacement copies for myself because my original copies have literally disintegrated in my hands.

The books I am speaking of are a set of 3 books that are illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky and composed by none other than Woody Guthrie!  I LOVE using Woody Guthrie music in my classroom because it's just really fun stuff.
Howdi Do is PERFECT for the beginning of the year -
Some copies of Howdi Do have CDs which contain recordings for ALL 3 books

The chorus of this book invites the use of ostinato on un-pitched or body percussion .
ta  ta  ta  ta    ti-ti   ti-ti   ti-ti   ti-ti
It's also a great springboard for writing. 

This is a great prompt for early writing. 

I take my time introducing these books in kindergarten.  My students always notice the similarities in the books and they request these books often. Over the course of several weeks we play with these books/songs.  We sing them, we draw pictures, we create comparison charts and Venn diagrams just like you would if you were using these books for a Language Arts lesson.   Some of the recordings are in keys too low for children to sing in, so I typically sing them myself.  A lead sheet with melody and chords is included in the book jacket.  I've made notes in mine so that I can play the books in a singable key once I've got someone who is able to hold the book up for the students to see.  

When I figured out that I was going to NOT be at TMEA this year, I realized that I'd get to teach on Valentine's Day.  Immediately "Mail Myself To You" came to mind.  I was excited because guess what?  There is ANOTHER book!  

THIS book is intended for students to read themselves, so it is not very long and it is not nearly as imaginative, but today after I reminded kinder and first about the songs by Woody Guthrie that they ALREADY knew, they weren't bothered by the small size or short length.  This book is just enough prompt to jump into singing the song.  If I had one of those document cameras then I'd be able to project this book and the size of the pictures wouldn't matter at all......  

Also, if you need it, because it is intended to be used as a leveled text, THIS book has a Spanish translation..... it's a little hard to imagine if it is a good translation, but then...... I'm not the expert on the quality of any given translation..... I just know that this exists.  One of the folks that I follow on Pinterest directed me toward a YouTube Video that is a cartoon for Mail Myself to You.... After we learned the song we watched the video as a quick 4 minute Valentine's Day treat.


Looking ahead
When I was gathering all that I needed to write this blog I came across a Youtube video for the book Bling Blang......I don't know if I'll use it or not, but it's nice to have.


Also, In a few weeks I am going to introduce Patriotic music to several grade levels..... The actual plan is still forming in my head, but I intend to include "This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie...The book contains all of the verses/pages, may be a little "too real" for some of my younger students, but since Woody Guthrie is a song writer they are all familiar with, I think it would make an excellent starting point.  

Finally, on a note about Valentine's Day that is totally unrelated to Woody Guthrie - I shared "I Love You" with several grade levels today, just because it's fun..... This book can start a lively discussion about units of measurement. YAY for Music and every day integration into other subjects!

I looked it up!  They started talking about cubic inches and I got confused....I'm dreadful at math so I'm not sure what a cubic inch is....these are approximate measures for dry produce....my best guess anyway.....
4 quarts = 1 gallon
8 quarts (2 gallons) = 1 peck
4 pecks = 1 bushel
heap = a whole bunch
barrel = even more

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